Murray Halberg village keeps with the running theme
After naming its Lynfield village after one of New Zealand’s great athletes, Murray Halberg, Ryman has now turned to Murray’s fellow runners to inspire the naming of each individual block on the site. One of the first independent apartment blocks will be named after Barry Magee, who won a bronze medal in the marathon at the Rome Olympics in 1960.
Barry himself lives in the village with his wife Heather after shifting there from their home in Mt Roskill. He was quite humbled by the news which Village Manager Grant Costello had shared with the other residents at one of their recent Happy Hours. “I thank Ryman for the honour. In this life nothing can be taken for granted so I count my blessings every day.”He added: “My wife Heather was delightfully surprised when I told her, and my fellow apartment dwellers did all seem pleased with the news.”
The first independent apartment block, where Barry and Heather live, is set to be named after a fellow Olympic bronze medallist, John Davies. John, who sadly passed away in 2003 aged 65, won a bronze in the 1500 metres at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a silver medal in the one-mile event at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth.
John’s widow Patsy said it was a real surprise when Ryman contacted her. “I thought it was fabulous and would help ensure that part of New Zealand’s history would continue to live on.” She added: “I’m sure John would have been delighted – he would probably be thinking he could get everyone out training!”
Olympic marathon bronze medallist Lorraine Moller’s name will also grace the wall of a Ryman apartment block. Her long list of achievements includes a silver medal in the marathon at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, completing the marathon at the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Olympic Games and winning the 1984 Boston marathon, and the Osaka International Ladies marathon three times in 1986, 1987 and 1989.
Lorraine now spends her time between New Zealand, Sydney and Boulder, Colorado in the US and admitted she was ‘really chuffed’ by the request. “I am so stoked and honoured!” she said.
Lorraine also has a connection to another Ryman namesake – Nellie Melba in Melbourne. “Dame Nellie Melba is my great grandmother’s cousin,” she said, adding: “I did not inherit her singing ability, but I don’t think she was much of a runner either!”
Sir John Walker has also been added to the list of inspiring names. Another middle-distance star, John won the 1500m event at the 1976 Olympics and was also the first person to run the mile in under 3:50.
He recently retired from his role in local government as an Auckland councillor and representing the Manurewa-Papakura ward.
In the village centre, the hospital, rest home and special care units will be named after the locations of the Olympics and Commonwealth competitions held in Perth, Rome and Cardiff respectively.